Are You Ever Too Old to Have a Teddy Bear?
Sep07

Are You Ever Too Old to Have a Teddy Bear?

      I went through an era in my life that I loved and thought every stuffed toy was the biz! Except for Chucky! He was the bane of some of my most frightening childhood nightmares! A toy that could talk, wields a knife and has scary eyes – I could not look at any toy for months in fear that they would come to life! Strangely, not unlike the new star of the Teddy Bear world, “TED”, though instead of a knife, this “cute” looking teddy bear has a foul mouth and spouts sexual innuendoes at everything he sees. For some reason I was never a fan of the plastic dolls (Barbies & Cindys). Even at a young age I thought those types of toys were a little too girly for me, but a lot of my girlfriends would go out of their way to play with their Barbies and Kens and make happy families for them.   My interest started at Cabbage Patch Dolls. When they first came out on to the market they were cute (real definition – UGLY but INTERESTING). It was like looking at a really ugly baby – I can almost hear the shocked gasp of a million Mom’s saying “There is no such thing as an ugly baby”!  These little darlings had huge round heads, round stunned eyes, snubby noses and cheeks so rounded it looked like a bag of Marshmallows was stuffed in there.    My next phase with stuffed toys came later in life. I started to make up for it by winning stuffed toys from fairs and those arcade point-and-grab machines. I...

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A Special Relationship
Jul20

A Special Relationship

  A Special Relationship The celebrated English author Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) once made an observation that still resonates today: “(t)he longer we live, and the more we think, the higher value we learn to put on the friendship and tenderness of parents…” He went on to observe: “Parents we can have but once…” Even in the fast-paced, busy high tech Information Age, family life often revolves around the small daily acts of kindness shown by parents and children to one another. Although in one sense, every individual possesses a unique parental-child relationship, practically everyone would agree that few family ties remain as enduring, or as important, as the emotional ties linking parents and their children, whether biological or adopted. A Time For Thanks Children are usually focused intently on the moment. It is hard for us to fully appreciate the entire range of the daily sacrifices made by our parents on our behalf until much later in life. For example, the long hours a parent spent working to provide for family necessities may not register until one’s own children arrive. Or consider the attention and care your parents expended creating a comfortable home environment. Think of all those think of all those medical appointments, shopping trips, outdoor recreation, athletic meets, school events, social functions, etc. The love a doting mom or dad displays...

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Beautiful Gerberas Bring Cheer!
Jun17

Beautiful Gerberas Bring Cheer!

  An Overview of a Delightful Flower Since its discovery in a South African gold mining field slightly over a century ago, the Gerbera Jamesonii has contributed enormously to both gardens and floral arrangements. Sometimes called “the African Daisy” or “the Barberton Daisy” (in honour of the gold field outside Barberton, South Africa)” this vividly coloured perennial remains a popular gift item in floral bouquets. It represents just one attractive type of Gerbera. Today Gerberas come in many lovely forms. They rank fifth in popularity as a cut flower. You’ll find them in a pleasing variety of sizes and colours, including white, yellow, orange, red, light purple and even multi-coloured. The bright petals of this plant may appear slender and spiky, or rounder in shape; in some flowers, the blossom itself measures 7″ in diameter! Gerberas take their name from a man who did not discover them. However, he did contribute significantly to the world of flowers and botany. Dr. Traugott Gerber lived between 1710 and 1743, and for several years he helped manage a botanical garden in Russia. Today most of the 300 forms of Gerberas available on the flower market descend from just two cultivars: the Gerbera Jamesonii or the Gerbera vindfolia. People love to see these beautiful distant relatives of the Daisy, Sunflower and Aster families in floral arrangements and gift baskets. Their...

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Superheros Really Exist: Dads
Jun15

Superheros Really Exist: Dads

  Superheroes really do exist, and in everyday life we call them “Dads.” The contributions caring father make to the lives and well being of their children receives recognition in many locations around the world. Father’s Day In Australia, most people celebrate Father’s Day on the first Sunday in September. It’s a time of year to appreciate fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers and all of the joy they bring to our lives. September 6th, 2015 will find many of us sending a gift of roses to a beloved Dad this year. In other parts of the world, people designate different dates to honor fatherhood. For example, in the United States, the United Kingdom and many other countries, official Father’s Day festivities occur on the third Sunday in June. These types of celebrations share one thing in common; they offer everyone an opportunity to express gratitude for all the remarkable, heroic things Dads do in daily life. Sometimes these self-sacrificing actions do not always receive the attention they deserve. In fact, many dedicated, courageous Dads don’t even consider themselves remarkable. Father’s day offers the opportunity to express appreciation to these men who matter so much to us and to the community as a whole. A True Story to Share During Father’s Day One example of the significant positive impact fathers can make on the lives of their children emerged...

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Gift Ideas for Dad
Jun12

Gift Ideas for Dad

  Father’s Day is fast approaching in many countries, mainly in the Northern Hemisphere. Let us take a moment to think about our Dads – those special guys who taught us important life lessons we will remember forever. Selecting the perfect gift for your dad is a challenge as it needs to  show how much you appreciate and care for him. A pair of socks or a tie just doesn’t really work. Some standard options that come to mind are vintage whiskey, a BBQ utensil set, tools, kits for his favourite hobby and sports equipment. However, if Dad likes these items he would have probably chosen his own by now. More original ideas for the man who has everything might be event oriented, such as tickets to a game or show, a try-lesson to something he would like to try like windsurfing or hang gliding, or simply planning a family BBQ in the park. When you can’t be there for Father’s Day, a great option is to order online for direct delivery to Dad. While flowers may not have traditionally been for every Dad, in this modern day and age many will appreciate a bright selection of Gerberas, Carnations, Orchids or other fresh flowers. Ready Flowers offers a wide selection of Father’s Day flowers, plus a range of gifts including champagnes, wines and chocolates to turn his day into a celebration. Additionally, small gifts such as balloons and bears can be added so he has something in which he can look...

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A Guide to Popular Flowers: M – R
May23

A Guide to Popular Flowers: M – R

Ready Flowers offers many helpful tips concerning the selection of flowers for special occasions. This series of posts on alternating Saturdays will cover the full A – Z of popular flowers. Some weeks ago we discussed key flowers in both the A – G and H – L range. In connection with this Guide to Popular Flowers, you may want to consider some of these lovely popular plants and flowers in the M – R range for your garden or as gifts:  Magnolias: These large, fragrant flowers are a symbol of nobility, perseverance, and love of nature. While normally white the also can be found in pink, mauve, peach, yellow, lavender and purple. Interestingly, the flowers of the magnolia tree do not have petals and sepals like other flowers; instead they are composed of tepals which are leaf-like, petal structures. Since Magnolias represent durability, strength of character and bearing, they are widely used in weddings. Nerine: Nerine curvifolia plants grow from bulbs and produce striking red and gold or pink trumpet shaped flowers. People may raise them in planters in order to take them indoors during cold weather. Orchids: Throughout history, Orchids have been a symbol of fertility and virility, as they feature elements of both male and female anatomy. Because of their symmetry, and the straight lines on their petals, orchids represent beauty in symmetry, and are considered the epitome of rare beauty. Also as they thrive in the...

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Joys of a Newborn
May11

Joys of a Newborn

  If you have not used it, Yelp is a website with loads of useful reviews, as well as a place to find things around you. We searched ‘tacos’ in Hong Kong, just to be random, and found 45 entries. However, as with Amazon or any other site with reviews, these are sometimes used to spread humorous, facetious comments. One very clever mommy blogger, The Ugly Volvo, created a Yelp for newborn babies. The reviews are hilarious, from “SUPER strict no return policy” to “we wound up with two of them (not what we ordered)”, plus complaints about grandparents skewing the feedback and very amusing customer service type replies from ‘Newborn Baby’. Without further ado, here are some of the choice reviews:         That last one was by The Ugly Volvo blogger and rounded out the humorous posts above it with this loving thought on the complexities and joys of parenthood “Will this experience be horrible beyond belief or too wonderful to put into words, the best answer that I can give you is, “Yes.””...

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Mother’s Day Trivia
May01

Mother’s Day Trivia

  Time is moving fast and Mother’s Day is almost upon us. While motherhood has been celebrated and honoured in various way throughout history, this is modern holiday was first celebrated in the United States in 1908. It became a legal public holiday there in 1912. In Australia it was started in 1924 by Mrs Janet Heyden of Sydney, when she found there were many lonely and forgotten mothers at the Newington State Home for Women. She brought them gifts from local school children and businesses, with this becoming an annual tradition. To honour the amazing contribution and sacrifice of mothers everywhere we found other interesting Mother’s Day trivia. Mother’s Day is the third most popular holiday, after Christmas and then Easter. The carnation is the special flower for Mother’s Day in the United States. Tradition calls for wearing a red one if one’s mother is alive, and white if she has died. However, in Australia it is the chrysanthemum, as the name ends in “Mum”. People will give there mothers chrysanthemums and men wear one in their lapel to honour mothers. Mother’s Day is the third biggest day of the year for sending cards. Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time. There are more phone calls made on Mother’s Day than on any other day of the year. A 2010 AT&T survey estimated that in the United States an 122.5...

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A Mother’s Day Story From the Distant Past
Apr27

A Mother’s Day Story From the Distant Past

  As the year advances, it sometimes surprises busy people to realise that Mother’s Day rapidly approaches. The second Sunday in May inspires warm celebrations of motherhood in many parts of the world. Families take some time to express their love for the women who contribute so much to daily life. Millions of people share bouquets of flowers at this time, sending fresh roses, daisies or even a single mum to convey profound gratitude. They sometimes give other small gifts to mothers, too, as tokens of their esteem and undying affection. One of the best ways of sharing Mother’s Day involves symbolism. A beautiful Mother’s Day story from the distant past illuminates this idea very well… Over a century before the birth of Christ, the City of Rome developed a thriving cultural life. Many aristocratic Roman families enjoyed comfortable lifestyles, supported by the efforts of large numbers of poor Roman workers, labourers and slaves. During this period, two of the most influential reformers seeking to improve the working conditions of ordinary Romans by according them more civic rights were two brothers, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchi. Their mother, Cornelia, often earned praise for the way she had raised them. After a happy marriage that produced 12 children, Cornelia had become a young widow when her high ranking husband passed away. She impressed the people of Rome favourably with her modest...

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Are You an Easter Egg Thief?
Apr03

Are You an Easter Egg Thief?

  It is officially Easter this weekend. The kids are out of school and you are gearing up to celebrate the holiday in true Easter spirit. The fun includes Easter eggs hunts, visiting relatives, hot cross buns and, of course, chocolate in all shapes and sizes. Lots and lots of chocolate, and apparently it is not just the kids who are indulging. According to one study, 68% of Australian adults are guilty of stealing their kids Easter goodies, with 72% of that being mooched before the day itself. The following excerpt from kidspot has the down and dirty on the great Easter pillage. So how much chocolate are we talking here? The good folk at Colgate have been so concerned about Australia’s Easter chocolate consumption that they’ve had a little look at the figures, and well, we dig those eggs. According to their research, Aussie families are expected to consume a whopping 124.3 million Easter treats over the holiday period. And with chocolate eggs and hot cross buns hitting the supermarket shelves earlier and earlier each year, it appears Aussies are being tempted more than ever before. Most of the damage is done in the lead-up … According to the research, we’re giving in to the temptation – treating ourselves throughout the lead up to Easter rather than only indulging on the one day. In 2014, half (53 percent) of the treats consumed by kids and three quarters (72 percent) of the treats consumed by us parents were...

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Easter Tradtions
Apr01

Easter Tradtions

  The wonderful Easter season offers an excellent opportunity to create warm, happy memories. In many households, people reflect upon family tradition at this time of year. While children delight in warm hot cross buns for breakfast and the fun provided by gathering tasty Easter candies, their parents may take some time to renew their ties with loved ones. This holiday provides an excellent opportunity to get in touch with distant relatives and friends, and to consider life’s numerous blessings. Easter for many people involves sharing kind sentiments with their household members, relatives and the community. The joy of the Easter season for numerous families centres around togetherness and shared activities. Grandparents or parents may purchase a variety of special Easter foods for children. In Australia, many youngsters look forward to tasting big chocolate candy eggs, colourful, delicious treats that frequently arrive in bright Easter baskets. Some gift baskets include samplers containing an assortment of different types of Easter candies. These gifts can brighten another person’s holiday celebration. During this time of year, people often take the time to get in closer touch with distant friends and relatives. They may call or visit, or send an Easter card. If you seek flowers for relatives, during this season Lilies provide an excellent choice. The quiet, deep beauty of their blossoms and the...

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Keeping Friendships
Feb28

Keeping Friendships

  Real friendships have a hugely positive impact and effect on our lives. As the adorable but very relevant NED video above shares, there are many ingredients involved in friendships. However, as we develop and change personally, how do we make sure we nurture and maintain the bonds that we share with our friends? The following excerpt from Psychology Today outlines the four behaviours required by both parties to ensure your special friends stay friends: self-disclosure, supportiveness (which combined bring intimacy), interaction; and being positive. From young adulthood onward, our notion of what makes a good friendship changes very little, but our capacity to maintain one does. It’s a poignant reality; we know what it means to be and have friends, but after we graduate from college and go our separate ways—launching our careers, getting married, having children, getting divorced, caring for ageing parents—we’re often unable to muster the time and energy to maintain friendships we profess to value. Like anything else in life, if we want to remain friends with someone, it requires a little work. Simply put, we must show up. According to Marquette University psychologist Debra Oswald, who has studied the nature and complexity of high school “best” friendships, there are four basic behaviours necessary to maintain the bond. And they hold true whether we’re 17 or 70. Communication...

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#TBT: History and Rules
Feb26

#TBT: History and Rules

  While many associate Throwback Thursday the main social media channel they use, such as Facebook or Twitter, the phenomena actually started in the blogosphere. However, it has now really flourished and come into its own on Instagram. At 13:02 on 25 February 2015 there are 314,790,097 posts on Instagram using the hash tag #TBT. That is not counting the 46,486,952 using the full hash tag #ThrowBackThursday or the 1,431,389 challenged posts with #ThrowBackThursdays. Those are people who can type, there are probably millions of posts with slightly different spellings in the ether. So how did this come to be such a popular weekly trend? Following is a rough rundown of the hashtag’s history from the Dumb and Genius blog: 2003 (March) – the word Throwback was first defined in the Urban Dictionary. 2006 (January) – first known blog appearance on Saxton Moore’s blog. 2006 (July) – the first Throwback Thursday series started by Nice Kicks’ blog. 2006 (July) – for the first time, Georgia Tech football game was themed Throwback Thursday. 2011 (February) – the first recorded Instagram hashtag of the phrase was made by @bobbysanders22 on his hot wheels photo but there’s no guarantee that this was actually the first one in the said application. 2011 – it became popular in the blog community 2011 (November) – the hashtags #throwbackthursday and #tbt became Instagram’s recurring trend. 2012 (January) – the phrase...

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Friendship facts
Jan31

Friendship facts

We aren’t born with an internal guide to friendships, we are however social creatures (mostly) and develop our social skills as we grow up. Friendships and the type of people we have in our lives also changes and evolves as we mature. We might have been best buds with the king or queen of sarcasm a decade ago, but now find that we would rather spend time with kinder, gentler souls. Alternatively, we might have been a big gamer and hung out with other nerds, but now we lost that interest and prefer to hang with party people. Also social media has brought a us into contact with new friends that we may have never even met in real life, but who share very similar interests. The Style Guy from GQ looks at a few aspects of friendship in the following excerpt. What Are Friends (in the Age of Facebook)? Ideally, a friend is someone you have actually met, someone you like and spend time with, although it is possible to establish a friendship through correspondence, particularly if one party is incarcerated. Traditionally, friendship required time; it demanded a certain intimacy that was not granted instantly. Today, however, thanks to the social networks’ digital exploitation of loneliness, horniness, and ambition, it is now widely believed that it is possible for one’s résumé or curriculum vitae to become friends with other people’s résumés or curricula vitae. A friend is a person, not a set of...

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Children of nature
Jan27

Children of nature

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair and let us huddle together as darkness takes over. We are at home amidst the birds and the trees, for we are children of nature.” – Susan Polis Schutz Being outdoors was in intrinsic part of growing up for many of us who are now big kids. Unfortunately many children today are not experiencing the same wonder and joy of nature we were blessed to have had. Following is an observation of this trend and some frightening numbers. We all have those memories from childhood: jumping into a cool lake on a hot summer day, intently watching ants on the march or spending hours just laying back and looking at clouds. And whether we realized it or not, those moments in the outdoors helped shaped our views on the world around us. But those kinds of memories are fading fast for many young people today. The statistics are alarming: in a typical week, only 6 percent of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own (1) and kids 8 to 18 spend an overwhelming 53 hours a week using entertainment media (2). …via Kids in Nature | The National Conservancy The National Conservancy is just one of many organisations that have programmes to get children back in touch with nature. There is a list of the top five American programmes from One Green Planet and here is a list of nine programmes in Australia from Children & Nature. However, a quick Google search will hopefully...

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